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New Report: Lifting the Veil on Spending

This blog is cross-posted from the Advocacy Advance blog, and is authored by Christy Kwan, Outreach Coordinator.

Each year, $37 billion is allocated to states for transportation projects. How much does your state plan to spend on bicycle and pedestrian facilities?

The new Advocacy Advance report, Lifting the Veil on Bicycle and Pedestrian Spending, takes a look at a complex federal process – the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). STIPs, at their most basic, are budget documents that express how states plan to spend federal transportation funds for the next four years.

We examined these documents in every state to determine the types of facilities that are planned for people who walk and bike. We asked if planned projects will serve bicyclists-only, pedestrians-only, or both through a shared facility and whether they will occur as part of other roadwork or as standalone projects. We found that:

  • Bicycling and walking investments are difficult to determine and appear to be small.
  • Bicycling and walking facilities are more numerous than cost percentage estimates alone might suggest.
  • Complete Streets policies are often correlated with more projects including bicycling and walking facilities, but having good data better explains states’ performance.
  • No strong trend emerged in how states allocated spending among biking, walking, and shared-use facilities.

States are required to make information accessible means and involve the public. By rating each state based upon how their DOT presents federally required planning information, we hope to encourage best practices that improve transparency and lead to better civic engagement.

At a minimum, we recommend that states provide better project descriptions and better coordination of data. The current process does not allow the public to meaningfully assess the performance of the states in following their stated policies and priorities. We hope that the information in this report will help that change.

We hope this report will be a tool for bicycling and walking advocates to call for more investments in bicycling and walking projects, more integration of bicycling and walking into road projects, and better tracking of active transportation investments.

Download the new report.